Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Where Did I Come From? Certainly not from a coming together of private parts!

It started with my noticing this snippet in ST (Aug 26):

Okay, the copy had a nice touch to it..."(the) firemen showed that they were up to the job". But my journalistic DNA was telling me why did the copy not call a spade a spade, ergo, "penis" and not "private parts"? My inner Grammar Nazi was also in overdrive: If a euphemism had to be used, let's get it right. To me, "private parts" -- when referring to the parts attached to the male of the species -- comprise the general and the two colonels (euphemism alert!!).

So, strictly, in the story above, the term used should be "private part". But that does not make sense either, because the conventional usage is "private parts".

Moral of the story: Call a spade a spade.

Still mulling over euphemisms, Angie and I made sure the two girls, when young, knew what were the correct terms. We were helped by the book "Where Did I Come From?" by Peter Mayle.

I was delighted to find that there is a nearly 24-minute animated video of that classic. So, if you can spare the time to watch it, here it is...



Finally, there are lots of online sites that discuss or list euphemisms, like these two...



This portion below is from the second of the two links above:

restroom or bathroom for toilet;
acting like rabbits, making love, getting it on, doing it, or sleeping with for having sexual intercourse;
motion discomfort bag and air-sickness bag for vomit bag;
sanitary landfill for garbage dump;
third-party unauthorized use for cracking (computer crime);
ill-advised for very poor or bad;
pre-owned vehicles for used cars
correctional facility for prison
the big C for cancer;
the crab for cancer due to the constellation Cancer;
bathroom tissue, t.p., or bath tissue for toilet paper (Usually used by toilet paper manufacturers)
custodian or caretaker for janitor;
sanitation worker (or, sarcastically, sanitation engineer) for "garbage man";
Where can I wash my hands? or Where can I powder my nose? for Where can I find a toilet?. (This is an Americanism. A person asking this in Europe may be directed to a room that contains only a washbasin and no toilet.)

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